Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) Chairman Huh Chang-soo delivered an opening speech at the 8th Korea-China CEO Roundtable held in Seoul on Sep. 25.
“At present, China accounts for 16 percent of the total GDP of the world, is the second-largest country in the world in terms of R&D investment, and is the largest in terms of the number of patent applications,” he remarked, adding, “China’s reform, opening and economic growth have provided a large number of opportunities for South Korean industries and companies and the bilateral trade between South Korea and China has grown 43-fold since the establishment of their diplomatic ties.”
The Korea-China CEO Roundtable has been held each year since 2012, co-hosted by the FKI and the China International Council for the Promotion of Multinational Corporations (CICPMC). It is one of the most representative private economic exchange events of the two countries, alternately held in the two host countries.
The chairman of the FKI stressed the importance of economic cooperation between South Korea and China as a way to respond to increasing global trade protectionism. “We need to speed up our negotiations related to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the South Korea-China FTA in the service and investment sectors for more free trade between ourselves,” he said, adding, “At the same time, we need to further expand our cooperation from the manufacturing sector to premium consumer goods and services.”
The two countries’ bilateral trade and investment have recovered to the pre-THAAD conflict levels. Specifically, their bilateral trade volume fell in 2016 but rebounded to US$239.9 billion in 2017 and rose to US$268.6 billion last year. Likewise, South Korea’s annual investment in China rose from US$4.33 billion to US$5.66 billion from 2015 to 2018. The ratio of the investment to South Korea’s total overseas investment changed from 11 percent to 9.6 percent during the same period.